Asphalt pavement is one of the most important steps in asphalting surfaces, especially on roads. Various scientific studies have investigated the benefits of using Gilsonite in asphalt pavement.
One of these studies has been done by the Center for Excellent Pavement at the Nevada School of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2015.
This study has shown that the use of bitumen in asphalt pavement greatly increases the durability and life of the asphalt. This is due to the use of modified natural binders in Gilsonite.
Naturally, the results of this study can be effective in reducing the costs of road asphalt maintenance.
More precisely the use of Gilsonite-modified binders gives rise to the following:
Tensile strength: Natural Bitumen can significantly increase tensile strength and toughness in humid as well as normal environments.
Compressive strength: In this respect, the presence of modified binders in Gilsonite improves the compressive strength of asphalt pavement.
Groove Resistance: Modified binders also prevent asphalt grooves. Research has shown that in 90% of cases, bitumen can increase asphalt life up to ten times.
Fatigue Resistance: The usual lifetime of asphalt pavement can be increased by 1.5 to 5 times when using natural Gilsonite modified binders.
Bitumen increases the viscosity of asphalt. For this reason, unlike other asphalt pavements, the road is resistant to fatigue and deformation, even at high temperatures.
There are many operational reports that report at least a two-fold increase in asphalt life time if bitumen is used.
In terms of cost savings, natural Gilsonite has a direct impact of around 20%. This allows the base and binder layers to be up to 20 percent thinner with proper performance, and requires less raw material for road construction. However, the main reason for the cost-effectiveness of this method is related to the longer life of the asphalt.
The use of natural Gilsonite also plays an important role in the recovery of asphalt. The use of this material enables the recycling of old asphalt and makes the recycled asphalt as resistant to new asphalt.
However, recycling conventional asphalt does not have the same results as new asphalt and pavement in this case is vulnerable to cracking.
The unique properties of Gilsonite, including high strength and fatigue strength, reduced temperature sensitivity, high resistance to deformation, increased water resistance (scour), reduced pavement thickness and environmental compatibility, making use of this material is economically viable in construction. Gilsonite can be added directly to the asphalt mixing plant, hot and without any additional equipment.
Simply put, when a road with bitumen is only 10 years old, the asphalt road, paved with natural Gilsonite, can last up to 25 years.
Use of Gilsonite as a cost-effective component of modified polymer
Modified polymer additives can improve binder performance under certain difficult conditions. However, the cost of SBS polymers is more than twice that of Gilsonite.
The most cost-effective solution is to combine Gilsonite with SBS polymers to achieve the desired grade.
Gilsonite increases the viscosity of asphalt and, as with other RAP-based modifiers or high-modulus asphalts, renders the roads more resistant to deformation and fatigue even at high temperatures.